(1) As part of the nine regional water quality control boards’ basin planning efforts, up to 25 water-quality beneficial use categories for water have been identified for mostly human and instream uses. From Section 13050(f) of California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act: “‘Beneficial uses’ of the waters of the state that may be protected against water quality degradation include, but are not necessarily limited to, domestic, municipal, agricultural, and industrial supply; power generation; recreation; aesthetic enjoyment; navigation; and preservation and enhancement of fish, wildlife, and other aquatic resources or preserves.”
(2) As part of the State Water Resources Control Board’s water rights program, the California Water Code Section 1240 states, “The appropriation must be for some useful or beneficial purpose, and when the appropriator or his successor in interest ceases to use it for such a purpose [typically five years or greater] the right ceases.” In the water rights process, beneficial uses are defined in the California Code of Regulations. Categories of beneficial uses recognized in California include aquaculture, domestic, fire protection, fish and wildlife, frost protection, heat control, industrial use, mining, municipal, power, recreation, stockwatering, and water quality control.
(California Water Plan glossary)« Back to Glossary Index